Chewbacca, also known as Chewie, is a character in the Star Wars franchise, portrayed by Peter Mayhew. In the series' narrative chronology, he appears in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. He guest starred on the season 3 finale on Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Chewbacca's creation as a "gentle, hairy, non-English-speaking co-pilot" was inspired by George Lucas seeing his own dog sitting up on the passenger seat of Lucas' car. The dog, named Indiana, also inspired the name of the lead character in another one of Lucas' film franchises - Indiana Jones. It is said that Chewbacca's name is derived from sobaka, the Russian and Ukrainian word for dog.
Chewbacca, a Wookiee, became Han Solo's first mate and companion after Solo, then an Imperial Captain, refused an order to kill him while Chewbacca was a slave of the Empire. Solo was dismissed from the Imperial Navy for disobedience and became a smuggler. Chewbacca owed a life debt to Han and would serve Han Solo for the rest of his life. Chewbacca was named one of the "greatest sidekicks" in film history by Entertainment Weekly.
Chewbacca's voice was created by the original films' sound designer, Ben Burtt, from a mix of recordings of walruses, lions, camels, bears, rabbits, tigers and badgers in Burtt's personal library. The individual recordings were mixed at different ratios for Chewbacca's different utterances. One of the most prominent elements in the voice was a black bear named Tarik, from Happy Hollow Zoo in San Jose, California.